The H/G Rubber Stamp Archive

MCBA is proud to announce the establishment of the world’s most comprehensive working rubber stamp archive.

By uniting the extensive private collections of Scott Helmes and William “Picasso” Gaglione under one roof, the H/G Archive is one of the largest repositories of rubber stamps and stamp-related materials in the world. Comprised of hundreds of commercial and one-of-a-kind boxed sets and over 70,000 individual stamps spanning a period of 120 years, the H/G Archive is both comprehensive and incredibly diverse. In addition to physical stamps, the collection includes original stamp art, artists’ books, limited edition publications, journals, catalogs, reference materials, correspondence art, assemblings, design specifications, posters, and production materials.

The mission of the H/G Archive is to preserve historical, rare and unique tools of artistic expression while maintaining their accessibility to artists wishing to incorporate them into their creative practice. It is a living archive where use by artists and researchers is encouraged.

An exhibition in the Cowles Literary Commons presents just a few examples of the H/G Archive’s holdings. It offers a rudimentary history primer and demonstrates rubber stamp use by contemporary artists. From Dada and Fluxus practitioners to concrete poets and correspondence artists, rubber stamps facilitate creativity through their inherent immediacy and operative flexibility. They allow artists to simultaneously reference and critique a range of topics from banal day-to-day life to long established social institutions.

The S. Helmes and W. Gaglione Rubber Stamp Archive will officially open to the public in mid-2017 after initial documentation and cataloging has been completed. At that time it will begin fulfilling its mission by providing unique resources for art-making to emerging and established artists; serving as an educational collection that demonstrates history and social change; supporting future exhibitions and workshops; preserving and maintaining a traditional creative practices; and enhancing Minnesota Center for Book Art’s programming.